I've thought a lot about black metal's stylisms over the past 18 or so years, and there is a pretty strict divide between its two halves. On one end, we have the adventurous: those who strive to bend black metal's definition to the breaking point (this is not new and dates back to the early '90s). On the other, and in the case with bands like Xeper, there is a musical conservatism at work: to preserve black metal's tenets at all cost. It is okay to be a black metal band who wants to "play by the rules," as it were, there is only one extra rule that really needs to be followed: be good at it. In Xeper's case, and on their new album Ad Numen Satanae, we have a slab of very good, very conservative black metal.

Chilling to the bone thanks to both a thick layer of excellently composed keyboards and harsh-toned, constant-minor-chord riffing, Xeper's music is a monument to the mid-to-late '90s, no doubt influenced by songwriter Guh.Lu's time as a session live member of bands like Setherial, Gorgoroth, and Throne of Katharsis. Even so, there is a character to Xeper's music which sets them apart from pure worship music, and the more modern intensity found within is refreshing in the face of emulatory black metal. Listen to an exclusive pre-release premiere of "Of Purity and Death" off of Xeper's upcoming album below.

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Ad Numen Satanae releases February 26th on Soulseller Records.